An Examination Of The Service-learning Program At A Comprehensive University Through The Lenses Of Program Theory And Institutional Theory
higher education, service-learning, educational administration, program theory
Case study design, employing qualitative research methods, was used to document and examine a mandatory service-learning program at a new, comprehensive, public university. The study examined service-learning from multiple perspectives. Institutional theory provided a framework for examining the influence of the environment on the conceptualization, adoption, and implementation of service-learning. Program theory was used to identify and analyze the program's conceptual underpinnings, including goals and objectives, intended outcomes for students, and program processes. Knowledge of how a program is supposed to work is useful for developing assessment questions, evaluating institutional effectiveness, and improving program performance. The study included a review of the history of service-learning at the university. Data were collected during the fall 2005 semester and were analyzed using both process and variance modes. Data sources included the following: 35 documents, which spanned the years 1991-2005; interviews with seven faculty members and four academic administrators; and observations of three meetings of service-learning courses, a Government and Not-for-Profit Service Learning Job Fair, and five meetings where service-learning was a primary topic of discussion. Previous studies served as the basis for the following researcher-developed constructs used to code text across data sources: social/civic outcomes, personal outcomes, learning outcomes, and career outcomes. Findings suggest that the goals and outcomes associated with service-learning found in university documents clustered around social and civic involvement, while outcomes reported by faculty during interviews focused on students' personal development and learning related to course content. In general, university documents contained goals and objectives written in vague language, a finding consistent with previous studies.
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Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
College of Education
Educational Research, Technology, and Leadership
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Duff, Cathy, "An Examination Of The Service-learning Program At A Comprehensive University Through The Lenses Of Program Theory And Institutional Theory" (2006). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 787.